Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Dave Stephens “Time Will Tell”

Dave Stephens is a singer/songwriter based in Southern California, who – after two hard years of toiling away - just released his third album, “Time Will Tell”. You can hear some clear Beatles influences in his writing and in some of his vocal inflections, but Stephens also incorporates modern styles into his music, along the lines of David Gray or even some early Radiohead (“Pablo Honey” era).

The songs on “Time Will Tell” are generally well done, meticulously crafted and performed – no better example of this than the sweeping title track. After a couple listens of the whole package, “Time Will Tell” is a decent powerpop record, but overall I wish the hooks were stronger. Stephens has a serviceable voice; while it is not going to blow you away, some will find it rather soothing. Among the tracks that I liked right away is “Tragedy”, a picture-perfect powerpop tune with plenty of crunchy guitar bouncing through the melody. “Peace Of Mind” is a pleasant and breezy piece, with some interesting chord progressions reminding me a lot of something the band James would do. “You Are Mine, I Am Yours” is another happy-go-lucky number that you’ll want to hear more than once – it ties with “Tragedy” as the best song on the CD for me. Finally, “Falling Away” is an epic ballad that closes the record on a compelling note.

So I’m not sure I’d say the third time is a charm for Stephens, but there are several tunes on “Time Will Tell” that won’t disappoint.

iPOD-worthy: 4, 5, 8, 11

Dave Stephens - Official site.

Listen to “Tragedy”